You might think of the eccentric old man next door as a dotard, but it wouldn't be very polite to refer to him that way out loud. A dotard is a person who's old and senile.

The noun dotard used to be a standard way to insult someone by implying that they were physically and mentally decrepit. Shakespeare, Chaucer, and J.R.R. Tolkien all used it regularly as a put-down between characters. Dotard is much less common these days. It comes from the Middle Low German doten, "be foolish," and when correctly pronounced, it rhymes with goatherd.

Definitions of dotard
  1. noun
    an oldster in his dotage; someone whose age has impaired his intellect
Word Family
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